For several years, I have worked for a very large corporation as a solo. The client solved several difficult problems in order to employ solos and small firm attorneys, with the end result that the solos can produce better work, be more responsive, and can do so at a lower cost. In order to make this system work, the client manages all of the solos individually, which is no easy task.
The benefit is that the client gets some of the best patent attorneys to write their cases, and they know that only the specific attorney that they vetted will be working for them.
My client solved the problem of managing workloads for their solos with remarkable success.
The biggest problem for solo and small firm practitioners is that they cannot take large volumes of work. A solo cannot take fifty new cases and have them done in a month. Contrast this with a big firm with several dozen attorneys, who could take a large volume of work at any given time.
The problem with the big firms is that they can throw bodies at a large amount of work, but those bodies do not have the client knowledge, experience, or dedication to the work as a solo practitioner. In many cases, a big firm may have two or three attorneys who are familiar with the client, but many more who are not.
Because of this fact, the big firms will typically have larger quality variances than a solo practitioner would. The big firm attorneys who are familiar with the client might produce acceptable work, but the other attorneys in the firm might not. And you cannot create quality by having the experienced attorneys ‘review’ the work of the others. The old manufacturing adage: you cannot inspect-in quality.